Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

November 5-9 , 2007

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The following summaries are drawn from briefs and lower court judgments. They are meant to provide a general idea of facts and issues presented in cases, and should not be considered official court documents. Facts and issues presented in these summaries should be checked for accuracy against records and briefs, available from the Court, which provide more specific information.

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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Monday, November 5, 2007

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Rodney Tyrone Lowe v. State of Florida

SC05-633 | SC05-2333

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here

9:00

Mr. Lowe was convicted of the first-degree murder of Donna Burnell, a convenience store clerk who was fatally shot in July 1990. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld his conviction and sentence and Mr. Lowe filed post-conviction claims in the trial court. The trial court denied Mr. Lowe's request for a new trial but granted his request for a new penalty phase. Both Mr. Lowe and the state appealed to this Court.

Indian River County

Thomas Bevel v. State of Florida

SC05-2213

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

Mr. Bevel was convicted of the first-degree murders of 13-year-old Phillip Sims and his father, Garrick Stringfield, who were fatally shot in February 2004. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence for the murder of the son and 8-4 to recommend a death sentence for the murder of the father. The trial court followed the jury's recommendations and sentenced Mr. Bevel to death for both murders. This is his direct appeal. He raises various issues.

Duval County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Kenneth Hartley v. State of Florida

SC04-1387

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

Mr. Hartley was convicted of the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Gino Mayhew, who was fatally shot in April 1991. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld his conviction and sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Hartley filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court. It was denied and this appeal followed.

Duval County

Gary Ray Bowles v. State of Florida

SC05-2264 | SC06-1666

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:40

Mr. Bowles pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Walter Hinton, who died of asphyxia during an attack in 1994, and was sentenced to death. On direct appeal, this Court vacated the death sentence. During the re-sentencing, the jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence and Mr. Bowles was condemned again. This Court upheld the sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Bowles then filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court. It was denied and this appeal followed.

Duval County

The Florida Bar v. Hanry I. Smyler

SC06-432

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx 10:30.

In a disciplinary case against Mr. Smyler, the judge acting as a referee has recommended permanent disbarment. In 2005, this Court allowed Mr. Smyler to resign while a disciplinary action was pending with leave to apply for readmission in five years. As part of that order, Mr. Smyler was required to provide The Florida Bar with an audit of his trust account within 90 days. However, he was unable to find all the records needed for the audit. The Bar then filed a petition for contempt seeking disbarment. Mr. Smyler argues permanent disbarment is too harsh because he did not intend to violate the Court's order. He also cites his poor health as a mitigating factor.

Miami-Dade County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Essex Insurance Co. V. Mercedes Zota

SC06-2031

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

Ms. Zota, an interior design artist, was painting a mural inside a home under construction when she fell and was hurt. She sued Lighthouse Intracoastal, Inc., the company that owned the home, and others. Essex, which insured Lighthouse, asked the federal trial court to rule that Ms. Zota's injuries weren't covered under the Lighthouse policy. The court ruled Essex could not deny coverage because it had not delivered the policy directly to Lighthouse. Essex appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which, in turn, asks this Court to settle five questions about the scope of the relevant Florida law.

Broward County

Anthony Welch v. State of Florida

SC06-698

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Removed from the calendar

Brevard County

Harry Franklin Phillips v. State of Florida

SC06-2554

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

Mr. Phillips was convicted of the first-degree murder of parole supervisor Bjorn Thomas Svenson, who was fatally shot in August 1982. Mr. Phillips was sentenced to death but this Court later vacated his death sentence and ordered a new sentencing proceeding. The new jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and Mr. Phillips was condemned a second time. This Court upheld that sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Phillips filed a post-conviction challenge in circuit court. It was denied and this Court upheld that ruling. In the current appeal, Mr. Phillips argues he is mentally retarded and thus shielded from execution. The circuit court found that he was not mentally retarded and Mr. Phillips appealed to this Court.

Miami-Dade County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Gary Massey v. Calvin F. David

SC07-776

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

Mr. Massey filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against Mr. David, his former lawyer in a toxic tort lawsuit that was settled before trial. Although the jury agreed that Mr. David had been negligent, it also concluded that Mr. Massey would not have recovered damages if his original lawsuit had gone to trial. The trial court ordered Mr. Massey to pay Mr. David's costs, including fees for expert witnesses. Mr. Massey argued those fees were not authorized because Mr. David had not complied with the expert fee statute. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the award of expert witness fees despite Mr. David's failure to comply with the statute because the district court concluded that the statute unconstitutionally encroached on the Florida Supreme Court's exclusive jurisdiction to adopt rules of practice and procedure for the courts. This appeal followed.

Alachua County

Corey Smith v. State of Florida

SC05-703

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

Mr. Smith was convicted of the first-degree murders of four people: Leon Hadley, Jackie Pope, Cynthia Brown and Angel Wilson. The jury recommended life sentences for the Hadley and Pope murders by votes of 12-0 and 6-6 and death sentences for the Brown and Wilson murders by votes of 10-2 and 9-3. The trial court followed the jury recommendations and sentenced Mr. Smith to two life sentences and two death sentences. This is his direct appeal.

Miami-Dade County

Edward T. James v. State of Florida

SC06-426

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:40

Mr. James pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of Betty Dick and her 8-year-old granddaughter, Toni Neuner, who were killed in 1993. The jury recommended death sentences and he was condemned. This Court upheld the sentences on direct appeal and Mr. James filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court. He later dropped the appeal. However, two years later he changed his mind and asked the trial court to re-appoint his state-paid lawyers so that he could resume his legal challenge to his death sentences. The trial court denied Mr. James' request to re-appoint his lawyer and Mr. James appealed to this Court. A lawyer was appointed to represent Mr. James in this appeal.

Seminole County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Friday, November 9, 2007

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

No cases scheduled